RIM announces PlayBook tablet
It's not called the BlackPad after all, but otherwise the predictions of a new, iPad-esque tablet computer from BlackBerry Research In Motion got it about right
The Waterloo, Ontario-based firm unveiled its upcoming iPad competitor, called the PlayBook, at an event Monday afternoon in San Francisco. As earlier stories had predicted, this thin and light device (.4 in. thick, .9 lbs.) is built around a seven-inch color touchscreen, includes front and back cameras for videoconferencing and runs a new operating system -- not RIM's almost-new BlackBerry OS 6.
RIM touts the PlayBook -- due out in early 2011 at an unannounced price -- as "the first multiprocessing, multitasking, uncompromised browsing, enterprise-ready professional-grade tablet." The "uncompromised" adjective refers to its inclusion of Adobe's Flash Player -- banned on the iPad but which will ship on upcoming tablets running Google's Android operating system.
But unlike those competing devices, the PlayBook will initially ship with only WiFi, not 3G or 4G mobile broadband. It also won't arrive able to run a catalogue of existing apps; even the relatively paltry selection available through BlackBerry's App World won't run on the PlayBook's new OS without a rewrite.
Some key aspects of the PlayBook remain a mystery. Forget naming a price; RIM didn't even say how long it can operate without a recharge. Noted ZDNet blogger (and former Postie) Sam Diaz in his writeup of RIM's event said:
The company talked up a lot of the specs and the performance but not once -- not in the on-stage presentation or in the press release -- was there a mention of battery life.
It's also unclear how RIM plan to market the thing. Its press release and many of the PlayBook's touted features -- such as a form of pairing with BlackBerry phones, "subject to IT policy controls," that lets you view content from the phone on the tablet -- appeal to RIM's traditional business customers. But the presentation on RIM's site and even the name "PlayBook" suggest a pitch to home customers. Trying to split the difference rarely works; the things that IT departments want rarely coincide with the wish lists of home users.
Who do you think RIM is going after with this device? And how well will it succeed -- would you put the PlayBook on any gadget shopping list of your own?
| September 27, 2010; 6:19 PM ET
Categories: Gadgets, Mobile
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